The front desk is the face of your company. Customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty is key to your organisation’s success. It’s common knowledge that an unhappy customer will tell twice as many people about a bad experience as they will about a good one. It makes perfect sense to ensure your front of house is in order.
Motivating your receptionist to consistently exceed expectations requires some thought and practical application, but your time and effort will be rewarded with a reception team offering top-notch customer service skills leading to strong customer loyalty. Motivating your receptionist is essential to the success of your business.
Here, Mike James and staff management software specialists Planday have put together 9 tips to help you get the best out of your reception team.
- Wages and perks
Don’t underpay your staff. Make sure your receptionists’ salaries are consistent with other receptionist roles in your field and geographical location. Also remember that perks can help keep your employees devoted to your company, without necessarily affecting your bottom line too much. Gym membership, a team building day and the occasional catered lunch will help make your employees feel valued.
- Working environment
One of the best ways to improve the happiness of your receptionists is to provide a comfortable working environment for them. If your receptionists are standing for long periods, make sure they are offered regular breaks to sit down. A bar stool chair can make your receptionist more comfortable without compromising visibility. The reception area speaks volumes to your clients, so it’s worth spending extra time creating a design that enables waiting clients to feel comfortable and engage with your front of house team.
- Opportunities for promotion or personal development
It’s well recognised that the front of house department is limited in its potential for advancement. It may be you have an opening for a front desk manager as your company grows, or there may be certain tasks you can assign to the receptionist(s) to increase their role within the company. Be careful any extra tasks don’t detract from giving exceptional customer service and keeping on top of a busy phone line.
When opportunities for promotion are limited, you can still create and support opportunities for personal development. Public speaking or communication skills courses, in-house training from other team managers, and mindfulness based courses for enabling better connections, are all great ways of providing opportunities for your receptionists to learn new skills. Foster a sense of how important the reception team is to the business with other employees and managers.
- Praise and recognition
As in any role, recognition and praise for doing a great job will help to allay the negative spiral of feeling unappreciated. Don’t just say ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ to your receptionist. Take the time to have a conversation with them and offer words of encouragement.
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Receptionists, as with any other employees, want to be valued and respected for their contribution. Feeling a sense of pride and satisfaction in achievements releases the hormone ‘dopamine.’ Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which controls the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. As well as making us feel good it can also contribute to innovative thinking and problem-solving.
- Listen and foster collaboration
Listening to your receptionist’s concerns and responding to their needs will boost motivation. You might think that good listening is being silent while the other person talks. To the contrary, the best listeners foster a sense of collaboration through listening and periodically asking questions. Make the conversation a positive experience and don’t delay to action requests you have discussed and agreed upon.
- Set clear goals and offer on-going training
When any employee has clear task instructions and clear goals, they are less likely to waste time. It’s a fact. Understanding priorities when working on a busy front desk is key to maintaining a professional and unflustered front. A regular review of tasks and customer interaction will ensure training is up to date. It will also help your receptionist to feel calm and confident. They will also feel involved in the review of working practices.
- Don’t micromanage
No-one likes to be micromanaged. Having someone looking over your shoulder does nothing but make you feel like you’re not doing your job properly.
- Don’t punish mistakes – they are valuable lessons
We all make mistakes. Encourage your receptionists to try again when they make a mistake. If a customer is unhappy work through what happened with your receptionist to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s an opportunity to make sure training and procedures are up to date.
- Encourage happiness
While it is important to maintain a professional approach at the front desk, it’s also essential that receptionists are friendly and approachable. Keeping an eye on whether or not your receptionists are happy in their work is incredibly important. Happy receptionists are enthusiastic and positive in their work, which won’t go unmissed by your customers.
You’re reading this so you are clearly on the right path to getting the best out of your reception team. To see how far you’ve come, take a look at these clips. They’ll make you squirm!
Little Britain USA – Rude British Receptionist
A F***ing Car – Planes, Trains & Automobiles
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